Canonical’s offer of early access to Ubuntu Steam Snap has captivated gamers.
Gamers are enticed by Canonical’s early access to Ubuntu Steam Snap, As part of a larger effort to
improve Linux gaming, the company is demonstrating a new way of packaging the popular PC gaming platform.
Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, has announced the early release of
a Snap package for Steam, the popular PC game store.
The new version arrives as Canonical and Valve, the creators of Steam, make a strong push into the Linux gaming market.
With Steam Snap, Ubuntu aims to simplify Linux gaming
The Ubuntu desktop team is working hard to improve gaming on Ubuntu, and the Snap version of Steam is part of that effort.
In an official Ubuntu blog post, Canonical product manager Oliver Smith revealed the Steam Snap:
We’ve been looking forward to “the Year of Linux Gaming” for about as long as we’ve been awaiting Half-Life 3, but it’s never looked so close as it does now in 2022.
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While Ubuntu has previously made Steam available through its package manager, the Snap version
represents a significant shift in the way Steam is distributed.
Canonical created Snap, a modern package management solution for Ubuntu.
Snaps are self-contained, insulated from the underlying OS, and contain all of an app’s dependencies.
Dependencies are currently retrieved as individual components using the present APT mechanism.
Ubuntu users can download the early access version from the Snap store.
Ubuntu’s Switch to Steam Occurs in the Wake of Snap Controversy
While Snap makes it easier for developers to distribute Ubuntu apps, it has been criticized by consumers due to performance difficulties.
This appears to be related to the size of the Snaps slowing down the loading of apps. The latest Ubuntu version, 22.04, “Jammy Jellyfish,” has been chastised for converting the Mozilla Firefox package to a Snap.
Given that performance is generally at the top of gamers’ minds, if Canonical decides to totally transition Steam from an APT package to Sn, there may be a similar uproar.
With Steam, Canonical and Valve are aiming for Linux gaming.
Canonical’s move appears to imply a rise in Linux gaming interest. Canonical was hiring more developers, according to Smith, to improve Ubuntu for gaming.
Gamers are also being asked to provide feedback on how to enhance the system. Canonical is concentrating on modifications to the kernel and system drivers.
According to Valve’s Steam User Survey from March 2022, the great majority of Steam customers, 96 percent, use Windows.
Although Linux users make up only 1% of Steam users, Ubuntu 20.04 is the most popular, accounting for about 13% of all users.
Other entries, such as Linux Mint or Pop! OS, are Ubuntu derivatives, demonstrating how dominant Ubuntu is on the desktop. As a result, focusing on Ubuntu for gaming enhancements makes sense.
Valve has long been a proponent of Linux gaming, launching the portable Steam Deck in a variety of configurations.
The Steam Deck runs “SteamOS 3.0,” a proprietary version of Arch Linux, whereas prior versions of SteamOS were based on Debian.
Proton, a compatibility layer for native Windows games that haven’t been converted to Linux, is included in the Linux version of Steam.
While there are far fewer native Linux games than there are for Windows, developer adoption of Linux appears to be growing, as GamingOnLinux reports that there are over 6,000 titles available on Steam for Linux.
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This is certainly facilitated by the increased availability of Linux-friendly cross-platform development tools like Unity.
Will Steam and Ubuntu Survive the Gaming Industry?
It’s unclear how much Ubuntu and Steam’s investment in Linux gaming will pay off, given Windows’ dominance of the PC gaming market.
Different Linux desktop distributions have already divided the market. These include gaming-optimized distributions.